Data Centre Cloud Marketplace

An online platform for provisioning dynamic interconnection services within our client's data centres and across the extended networks of carrier partners.


The Problem

Currently, provisioning interconnection services in a data centre is a slow and manual process. There are many points where errors can derail the process, making it a tedious step in any network or service deployment. This is even more true when the desired endpoint – the network infrastructure being connected to – actually lies outside the data centre on a private or carrier network. Those looking to provision connections to these distant endpoints need to negotiate terms of service and pricing with the data centre, the carrier(s) between them and the endpoint, and the entity responsible for the endpoint as well. Moreover, it is not easy to tell who can actually provide access to that endpoint, necessitating a prolonged search and discussions with multiple carriers just to find the right ones to get to the desired destination.

How might we facilitate the simple provisioning of interconnection services from within a data centre to a distant endpoint?

How My Team and I Helped

Problem Definition

Working with my team and client stakeholders, my team and I helped reframe the problem statement to be one focused on uncovering and addressing user needs rather than one driven by the availability of a new technology.

Beginning the project with comprehensive stakeholder interviews and a preliminary wave of user interviews, we were able to highlight discrepancies and assumptions that were being made in the initial technology-driven problem statement, and demonstrate how a user-centred focus could lead to project success.

User Experience Research

Through broad-spectrum research into the workflows and needs of users of our client's services, my team and I helped the project’s stakeholders understand their customers more deeply, and discovered previously unidentified opportunities for dynamic interconnection services.

By keeping the interviews exploratory and unscripted, we were able to investigate alternative avenues that were not supported by the original problem statement. We did set question "theme areas", which allowed us to explore consistent aspects of users’ experiences.

Work-activity affinity diagrams and experience maps were used to explore gaps in the service experience as well as areas of opportunity or risk for the dynamic interconnection service offering

Product Strategy & Concept Design

Through a 3-day workshop with client stakeholders, my team and I guided the development of several strategies to evaluate different aspects of the shortlist of product concepts we had created.

We helped build support for the project within disparate stakeholder groups by making sure all voices were heard. We also used participatory design techniques to ensure that the resulting work could benefit from the expertise and perspectives of stakeholders from across the client's organization, as well as the insights gathered from our research with users.

Interaction Design & Testing

In a short timeframe, my team and I assembled an interactive prototype interface for the “marketplace” offering that would support the product approach we believed to be the most promising, and conducted a range of usability tests with it to ensure that it was truly aligned with the client's core personas’ mental models. 

Moreover, we made the resulting artefact useful for the client, by developing a range of tests for their team to run to continue investigating other aspects of the product.

 Clickable prototype that we built to test the interaction model and workflow for provisioning a service at a distant endpoint

We built a clickable prototype to test a number of concepts for the dynamic interconnection marketplace, to ensure the service fit with users' mental models of the interconnection service process